Church Governance or Policy Issues, Crazy Things Church Leaders Say & Do, Harvest Bible Chapel, James MacDonald, Narcissistic Pastors, No-Talk Rule, Shunning, Spiritual Abuse, Spiritual Bullies

Harvest Bible Chapel Files Complaint Against Blogger Paul Dohse, Resulting in Loss of YouTube Privileges

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In a concerted attempt to control others, someone from Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC) filed official complaint with YouTube against blogger Paul Dohse’s YouTube account, resulting in blogger’s loss of YouTube privileges.

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Screen shot of original video, h/t FBC Jax Watchdogs for use of pic

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I received an e-mail from Paul Dohse this morning alerting me to an ongoing situation he has been dealing with regarding a specific YouTube video he posted, the same video in which I posted the transcript on my blog post here.

Below is a quote from Paul’s recent blog post, The James MacDonald White Paper: HBC Attempts to Expunge Infamous Church Discipline Video, Files Complaint Against PPT; Post 10 of 30

Harvest Bible Chapel has filed a complaint against PPT with YouTube claiming copyright infringement. The complaint concerns the infamous, and haughty video by James MacDonald and four of his elders.

The video was originally posted at the Harvest Bible Chapel website.  It is important to note that HBC is currently on a scrubbing mission which we call “damage control,” in spiritual abuse vocabulary.  This is a common control tactic we see by spiritual abusers. It is to be expected, sadly.

There was a lot of negative publicity with the video which I will detail later, but take a look at what you will see if you go to the original link,

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Screen shot 2013-10-02 at 10.25.38 AM

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Here is the cached screen shot.  Evidently, the powers that be at the time of this cache had already decided to make the video private.

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Screen shot 2013-10-02 at 10.29.47 AM

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As you may recall, the  video, showed Pastor James MacDonald and four elders, Paul Inserra, Steve Huston, Randy Williams, and Jamie Harrison, speaking out against two former elders.  To refresh your memory, let me give you a sampling of key messages in the video.  The full transcript is here.

Pastor James MacDonald said in essence that the elders were mediators for God here:

We believe that the Bible that the authority of the church is vested in the elders.  And that when the elders speak collectively in agreement, they speak for God to our church.

Paul Inserra claimed that two former elders are “trying to destroy James MacDonald:”

We need to communicate with you regarding the discipline of two former elders and their combined effort with other former elders, all outside Harvest working to discredit our elder board and destroy our pastor.

Randy Williams named the two elders publicly, saying they are in church discipline:

 Scott Phelps and Barry Slabaugh have been notified that they are under church discipline and no longer welcomed in our church until they repent.

Ok, the rest of it is a verbal beat down of the two elders who spoke out against James MacDonald.  Here is the deal.  This video was posted publicly and was a public response by Pastor James MacDonald and four elders intended for all Harvest Bible Chapel attenders to see. This is important – – it was a public statement – just like a public press release.

I spent a considerable amount of time talking with Paul this morning because I wanted to know exactly what was going on.  I wasn’t sure what he meant by complaint.  Remember my complaint was a legal complaint as in a $500,000 legal defamation lawsuit, so when I hear the word “complaint,” my ears are perked up.

In this case, complaint means that someone from Harvest Bible filed a formal infringement complaint with YouTube.  Paul uses YouTube as part of his blogging ministry.  He posts sermons, analyzes false doctrines, etc.  It is an important part of his ministry effort, but now YouTube has issued a “strike” against his YouTube account, essentially, he is not in “good standing,”  and as a result, has lost some important privileges he uses in his ministry.
As a result of this complaint, Paul:

  • has lost access to over half of his 150+ YouTube videos
  • had to take mandatory YouTube copyright law test to gain access to his account.
  • has lost the privilege of listing his videos as “unlisted.”  Now he only has the option of making his videos public or private.  Having an unlisted video is helpful when you do not want to make the video searchable, only people with the direct link can access it.  This option is gone for him with the YouTube strike against him.
  • lost the ability to do Google Group live streaming.  It is now blocked.  Paul used this feature to live record sermons.  Others who were unable to attend his home church could watch the live streaming messages.

We talk about patterns of spiritual abuse on this blog and that is why I originally posted the transcript of the video.  Line by line, we could see control tactics used.  Interestingly, when the video was originally posted on, some bloggers noticed something:  we were not “allowed” to embed the video.  This is a control tactic saying:  we want this video to remain on our site where we have ultimate control.

(JA note:  when will these lofty pastors ever understand that when they post things on the internet, they simply cannot remove their words?  Good grief, this is 2013, get a grip, people!)

As the story of this ridiculous video got loose, it got a considerable amount of attention.   I did a quick search this morning to see who covered this specific story of the tyrannical video. Here are some articles  (including my original article) I found in my quick search:

So, HBC is acting like a big bully handicapping Paul’s YouTube site.  What are they going to do, go after all of the bloggers and complain?  You see, they can and have controlled what goes on in their churches, but do you see how they think they can control the words of those outside their church?  This is creepy spiritual abuse behavior, folks.

If my blog goes down today, you know why.  I am not afraid.  I still have my Twitter account and I will be exposing the hell out of this crap.  Yes, the “hell” because that is what this is. There is nothing godly about the behavior of the men in church leadership who pretend to act like men even though they try to sell you on a conference on how to “Act Like Men”  (this tweet refers to the “Act Like Men” conference that James MacDonald will be speaking at soon). Shameful!

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actlikemen2013-09-26 at 1.18.31 PM

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But I’d like to discuss an interesting aspect here.  HBC claims that Paul Dohse has infringed on their copyrighted material, right?  Ok, in the transcript, read what MacDonald says:

 And that when the elders speak collectively in agreement, they speak for God to our church.

Let’s temporarily put aside the issue that this is blatant heretical teaching for a moment, k? They say that as elders of the church, they speak for God.  Ok, let’s go along with that idea for a bit.  Tell me, how in the world God’s words are copyrighted?  Does God know His words are copyrighted?  How does that work?  They presume to own the intellectual property of God?  This is a pretty interesting legal argument, is it not?

Paul Dohse told me this morning he hopes they sue him.  I hope they do, too. Bring it on, Harvest Bible Chapel.  Go ahead and sue Paul. I will be first in line to blog and tweet about it along with many others, you can be sure.

Ok, another point that has occurred to me is so obvious, but must be pointed out.  If you have a conflict with someone, what is the biblical way of dealing with it?  You go directly to the person, right?  I already knew the answer to my question when I asked Paul because I know the pattern of abusers, but I just had to ask Paul.  So my question to Paul was:

“Paul, did anyone from HBC contact you privately and ask you to remove the video before you got notification of the strike against your account from YouTube?”

Paul said, “Absolutely not.”

When you are dealing with tyrannical leaders, they only behave tyrannically. They don’t know how to operate out of grace and love – – ya know, the model that Christ left for us to follow. Christ acted like a real man. These men aren’t interested in acting like men. They behave like 100% certified tyrannical spiritual abusive bullies.

Unfortunately, this is not the end.  It will go on and on, my friends . . . .

Update:  I almost forgot.  Paul Dohse has the stand-alone video of the statement from James MacDonald and the four elders and will send out to anyone who requests it.  His e-mail address:

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78 thoughts on “Harvest Bible Chapel Files Complaint Against Blogger Paul Dohse, Resulting in Loss of YouTube Privileges”

  1. Yeah well I’m sure the original video exists on hundreds of pcs across the country. It’s not going to just “go away”. After I pick my jaw up off the floor I might start feeling pure rage over this…


  2. Paul made a great point over commenting on the TWW post:

    pauldohse on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 02:17 PM said:

    “Another obvious angle that I completely missed: If they were speaking for God, why in the world would they pull the video down? Do they now detract that statement? Am I here right now? Really, people send money to these guys? This brings me closer to understanding Jim Jones’ Kool-Aid party where 900 people attended”


  3. “After I pick my jaw up off the floor I might start feeling pure rage over this…”

    No kidding, Anonymous! This is exactly how controlling cults operate.
    I’m glad it’s happening in the public arena, so we can all see what “Godly” men they are. (OK, that made me lol.) I’ll raise my glass of Crystal Light to their Kool-aid.

    Now, back to my son’s science lesson.


  4. This is a “Fair Use” issue if it was posted as a critique of the group’s public teachings etc.

    Here’s a link that lays it all out regarding “Fair Use” vs. Copyright infringement.


  5. I am wondering where one would go to ask Youtube why they are protecting tyrannical mega church leaders and punishing the little guy based upon an anonymous complaint?

    Where does Youtube stand on a group of men speaking for God? (wink)


  6. Pretty soon bloggers are going to just have to put their stuff up on liveleak or some foreign video server that doesn’t respond to these frivolous copyright complaints.


  7. Wow! This is amazing. James MacDonald and those four elders denigrate publicly the former elders at Harvest Bible Chapel, apparently all of whom are godly men.

    James MacDonald shows the video at all of the church campuses, then posts the video on the church website, then pulls it down and tries to hide it.

    Then HBC threatens to sue the guy who embedded it.

    What a public relations disaster for James MacDonald and HBC and the elders on the video.

    For the testimonies of the former elders who have spoken out, go to


  8. Lydia, if they filed a DMCA take down order, they can’t do it anonymously. But, if that was the case, Paul has time to file a counter-complaint with YouTube. He should check with the Chilling Effects site for some how-to on that issue. I agree with Alex: this was critique, but there’s a limit of how much he can use. Darrell Dow at Stuff Fundies Like might be a good resource on that; he’s used to critiquing sermons in this way.

    In addition to the idiocy re: “we speak for God”, there’s a little phenomenon called “the Streisand Effect”. In other words, the more you try to stomp on something when it comes to the Internet, the more interest you generate.

    Also, what I’ve read of the transcript sounds terribly scripted. Not at all like people actually speak or write–except for pastors like James MacDonald. I bet he wrote it all and just used the elders as his mouthpieces. The puppetmaster pulling the strings behind the curtain.


  9. There is no limit on what he can use if the video was free. They were not making money off the video. People critique ENTIRE SERMONS all the time, because they are not commercial products.

    Ask Alex Kurschner. Brannon house recently threatened him the same way, because he used 6 minutes of a 30 minute video to critique on eschatology (claiming that copyright law insists he can only use 10 percent). The law doesn’t actually read that way.

    In his response to Brannon he explains how the law works, because he has resisted another frivolous claim by a MUCH BIGGER company and won:


  10. btw I know a LOT of people pulled copies of that video because they KNEW these incompetent bully/cowards were going to pull it and do this. They’re so sickeningly predictable.


  11. I’ve got a call in to Kevin Oliver of Not Your Typical Negro on YouTube. He got his acct shut down by a spiritual bully and sued YouTube and won. When I get back home I can find links.


  12. I know from frequently reading Paul’s blog- He is a great threat! Paul successfully analyzes the doctrines of churches and shows the fallacies with great accuracy; more than I have seen from any blog out there. I was wondering when they would start finding out about him and start attacking. We are with you Paul!! Keep it up – you are doing wonderful work for the Lord Jesus!


  13. JA, That is exactly it. Bullies who think they can own the spiritual world. And hierarchy is the ladder that they climb to own people seeking after God.

    I will not be a rung on their ladder “hierarchy”. They are bullies.

    People seeking after God should flee like Lot did. Run for the exit & never look back. No explanation is necessary, ever. Period.

    This is extreme, what HBC is doing to Paul Dohse. Extremely controlling.

    We all have rights to our own lives, our own decisions, our own opinions. Always.


  14. Absolutely outrageous! I’m fit to be tied! Paul Dohse is a good man. I’ll comment more on this later. We will beat back the bullies.


  15. The only way to beat them Ryan is to convince the blind pew sitters to quit giving them money. They will always find a stage somewhere. Jim Bakker is hawking survival food.


  16. As I watched that video, I just shook my head. Bullies all over the church. Shame on them. I pray that the men who are being spiritually abused are strengthened and standing firm. Those men in the video were like little boys all nodding and trying to act holy in my oppinion. I can see through that crap a mile away.


  17. *sigh*

    Predictable, indeed. The Creepy Spiritual Abusers are all trying to maintain their control — and are all failing miserably in the Internet Age.

    More and more, James MacDonald, CON, and their ilk are coming to resemble the mother of all spiritually abusive organizations. Not just regarding their strategies for abuse, thought-stopping, damage control and smearing of critics. What is increasing coming to characterize That So-called “Church” is the “footbullet”. Everything they try to do to improve their image and stifle criticism just makes them look worse, because they’re trying to fight the truth, and it’s a fight they just can’t win.

    Former elders Phelps and Slabaugh stand accused of “trying to destroy” James MacDonald? The irony is they don’t even have to try. MacDonald is shooting his own feet off, and he doesn’t even know it.


  18. As I am understanding it, Paul Dohse was not asked to voluntarily remove his YouTube video of the infamous smack down of two HBC elders by the pastor supported gang-of-four elders. If this is true, HBC and it’s leadership appear to be guilty of a ham fisted, heavy handed and damaging assault on Paul and his ministry. It may be that the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God, but in this instance I suggest that our anger is of the righteous variety that proceeds from the heart of God. I may be wrong. We must be careful.

    That said, I find a certain satisfaction in the fact that HBC and its minions appear to be in a desperately defensive damage control mode. Most likely it is primarily damage to reputation they are attempting to contain. It occurs to me that they may also be attempting to limit potential legal exposure.

    Given that Paul was not first asked to voluntarily remove the video from YouTube, I also wonder if there wasn’t an element of vindictiveness involved. Why simply seek to resolve the grounds for perceived grievance when you can make your opponent suffer in the process?

    Well, they have stirred up a hornets nest, and not just across the blogosphere generally. Paul Dohse is in full counter-attack mode. See, especially, the first post on his blog for today October 3: I am with you, Paul!


  19. That is correct, Gary W. I made sure to ask that of Paul. I already knew the answer, though, because we know the pattern of abusers – – – they don’t follow what the Bible says on how to resolve conflict.


  20. Conflict? Why have a conflict with him?

    Why did JM & HBC not personally thank, pay, commend, praise, atta boy Paul for helping them to get THEIR own WORDS & THEIR own VIDEO out? Paul was spreading “God’s own words from the Elders’ mouths” for them!

    Hmmm. The crippling of Paul’s youtube account ain’t funny. It’s wrong, ugly, despicable.

    Don’t they have a big enough conflict already, wrestling with their double-digit million dollar dept hanging over the church?

    IMO, Paul is somewhat marginalized & that’s why they picked him. They’re trying to divide & conquer discernment bloggers. How united & big of a force are these groups? Do they need to worry about it, or is it just an annoying “mosquito” problem for HBC?

    I think the bright lights of press is what’s needed at this point. Christian press is fine, but I’m talking about major news media. JA is doing a great job of getting the word out. I saw TWW’s post as well.

    What should news media be alerted to? What should the spotlight be on? Easy:
    1. The humongous, irresponsible debt of HBC. Anyone who hears they have double-digit multi-million dollar debt & is objective knows this is not a church, it’s a corp. And this corporation is way over-leveraged. Faithful steward? Ha, ha! Yeah, right.
    2. How much JM gets paid. How much is it a year? Christians, let’s pick up our thinking caps up on the way out of HBC, put them back on & never take them off again. Tithe & offerings (50% of it? I’m not sure, but it’s an unbelievably large amount), are going to one man. Him.


  21. It’s funny. If he wouldn’t have yanked the video, it would have been posted at maybe five places. Yanked, and now it will be posted in 50 places. Can you say backfire?

    **ugh. Fixed bad typos.


  22. I’ve been trying to research how much JM got paid last year, 2012. I’ve read on the Elephantsdebt blog that the elders don’t even know.

    In 2008 or 2009 he asked for & received $100K raise from HBC.

    In 2009, ED blog reports JM received over $500K from HBC & WitW, not including expense accounts, money from books, conferences, etc.

    Since then, it seems his salary is hush hush.

    So who does know? Who approves his salary? What was it for 2012?


  23. He asked? Who? The bobblehead elders? Does that mean the 2 elders they are now slandering went along with a 100k per year raise but now they are bad guys?


  24. Go over to the Elephant’s debt and check out their documents on JMac’s Inverness mansion. Simple math will figure out what kind of salary it takes to have a mortgage and tax bill of that size.


  25. About the $100K raise, I need to be more specific about what I said. I said JM asked for & received a $100K raise. JM did receive a $100K raise. He may have asked for $100K or more than $100K (there was a negotiation) but in the end $100K is what was agreed on. See what you think:

    This is taken from Elephantsdebt blog, from The Salary tab, but it’s worth reading the whole thing yourself if you can @

    “Regarding MacDonald’s regular salary as an employee of HBC, it has been reported, that as of 2009, Pastor James MacDonald received a $100,000 raise…

    Since 2009, it has become far more difficult to track and document MacDonald’s compensation. Prior to 2010, Walk in the Word was a legally independent non-profit organization that was separate from Harvest Bible Chapel. But as of 2010, Walk in the Word was brought under the leadership of Harvest Bible Chapel as a ministry of HBC. While this may not seem significant at first, it actually makes tracking salaries far more problematic…

    Moreover, in a statement provided by the former elder, Dan Marquardt, on July 2013, the HBC elders do not receive a line item budget before agreeing to a yearly budget, and, as a result, they do not know how much the church is paying James MacDonald…

    So who decides how much James MacDonald should be paid? In the past, Harvest Bible Chapel subscribed to a commonly used church resource that helped elders determine appropriate compensation for a pastor. This resource utilized multiple categories such as region, church size, ministry context, experience, etc… to determine appropriate compensation. In 2008, the elders’ interpretation of this resource suggested that James MacDonald should receive a salary of $250,000.
    Unsatisfied with this offer, James MacDonald brought several other external resources into the conversation, primarily leaning upon Jack Graham and the Southern Baptist Convention. Apparently, he believed his services to be worth far more than that which Harvest was offering. In the end, the elders consented to give him a salary of $350,000. But what must be remembered is that this request for a 40% pay increase came during a season that Harvest was in massive financial debt and the broader economic culture at large was on the verge of historic collapse…”


  26. “Since 2009, it has become far more difficult to track and document MacDonald’s compensation. Prior to 2010, Walk in the Word was a legally independent non-profit organization that was separate from Harvest Bible Chapel. But as of 2010, Walk in the Word was brought under the leadership of Harvest Bible Chapel as a ministry of HBC. While this may not seem significant at first, it actually makes tracking salaries far more problematic…”

    There is an important reason they do this. John Hagge did this years back for the same reason. If they can control the finances of the church then the para church ministry can be run through the church without the same reporting guidelines for para church non profits. When it was found Hagge was making something like a million per year in his parachurch he came under fire and moved it under his church umbrella where he had less reporting guidelines from the feds to deal with. In other words, the public won’t know what he is raking in. Neither will the pew sitters who allow them all that control..

    The key is having total control of your church finances. That is where MacDonald has been going. Many of these guys use the para church org non profit as a way to put more family on payroll, too. I was stunned to see how much Chuck Swindoll pays his wife and daughter out of his. Same with Ligoneir. People just have no clue what these people are making. Jesus is quite lucrative in America.


  27. A video of that nature was obviously not going to be offered online in perpetuity. It was posted for viewing and was not offered for downloading or sharing on other sites. Like it or not, the person who used the content without permission violated YouTube policy and possibly copyright law. Debate the content of the video, or post transcriptions, but the guy who reposted it was wrong.


  28. Micheal, like it or not, men who claim to “speak for God” should not only expect their material to be copied but demand it. They ARE speaking for God.

    I always find it interesting how they want to straddle both worlds. In the spiritual they speak for God, in the civil, they own His words.

    Sorry, If they had not claimed to speak for God, I might agree with you.


  29. The notion that James MacDonald was suggesting that the elders of Harvest speak infallibly in consensus is an utter absurdity. Anyone who thinks otherwise has no familiarity with the beliefs and practices of HBC. While he might have been better served to phrase it more clearly, he was simply saying that elder authority is ordained by God. The context of that is the same as when a cop pulls you over for speeding. He is God’s avenger, visiting the wrath of God upon the wrongdoer according to the Bible. But he can still be wrong, and he is never to be obeyed if he asks/commands you to disobey God. When a judge gives a just sentence, or when a believer declares the Gospel to the sinner, God has ordained them to speak with righteous authority. Not infallible authority. Discernment never gets a day off.


  30. Even if MichaelWorrell is correct in what he says about YouTube policy and/or copyright law, concerning which I express no opinion, he completely misses the moral issues. One huge moral issue, and it isn’t the only one, has to do with the ham-fisted way a complaint was filed with YouTube without first giving Paul Dohse an opportunity to voluntarily take the video offline. These high controlling, authoritarian, power hungry, kingdom building types just don’t seem to understand what Scripture requires of them. They only use Scripture to manipulate.


  31. Hi Gary W

    I usually like the way you write. 🙂
    But – You sound like you’re having a difficult time expressing your true emotions.
    “These high controlling, authoritarian, power hungry, kingdom building types just don’t seem to understand what Scripture requires of them. They only use Scripture to manipulate.”

    Can you tell us how you really feel about these – errr – hmmm – Guys…
    An astonishing and horrible thing
    Has been committed in the land:
    *The prophets prophesy falsely,*
    And the priests rule by **their own power;**
    And **My people** love to have it so.
    But what will you do in the end?
    Jer 5:30-31 NKJV.


  32. Very true, Gary W. There is a proper and Biblical way of handling disputes. Harvest Bible folks think they are above the Bible, after all, Pastor James and his elders speak for God. I guess they don’t need to do things the Biblical way.


  33. Good morning Amos! No emotions actually, just a purely objective, dispassionate assessment of the facts. Well, O.K., I do admit my blood pressure rises when I observe people using money and power to pick on those they think can’t fight back. I cheer when the poor and the weak refuse to be oppressed. When the oppressed prevail, I find that I must resist the temptation to indulge a goodly measure of schadenfreude (as I’ve mentioned before). Sometimes I almost must repent of gloating. Still, I take comfort in the thought that, in our day and in our circumstances, the following may apply to these high controlling, authoritarian, power hungry, kingdom building types:

    Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
    The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
    “Let us burst their bonds apart
    and cast away their cords from us.”

    He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord holds them in derision.
    Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
    and terrify them in his fury, saying,
    “As for me, I have set my King
    on Zion, my holy hill.” (Psalm 2:1-6, ESV)


  34. Gary W

    As I said – “I usually like the way you write.”

    “Still, I take comfort in the thought that, in our day and in our circumstances, the following may apply to these high controlling, authoritarian, power hungry, kingdom building types:”

    And when you quote these scriptures – I also find comfort…

    Here’s a few verses that can also bring comforrt…
    Knowing now – that God knows what is going on with these guys…

    Although you’re NOT likely to hear these verses from “The Pulpit.” 😉

    The word “Pastors” is eight times in Jeremiah…
    Six times God is NOT happy… 😉

    Jeremiah 2:8 KJV
    …”The Pastors” also transgressed against me,
    and the prophets prophesied by Baal,
    and walked after things that do not profit.

    Jeremiah 10:21 KJV
    For ”The Pastors” are become brutish, ( beastly, carnal )
    and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper,
    and all their flocks shall be scattered.

    Jeremiah 12:10 KJV
    Many “Pastors” have destroyed my vineyard,
    they have trodden my portion under foot,
    they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.

    Jeremiah 22:22 KJV
    The *wind shall eat up all “Thy Pastors,”
    (*wind = ruwach = breath, mind, spirit.)
    and thy lovers shall go into captivity:
    surely then shalt thou be ashamed
    and confounded for all thy wickedness.

    Jeremiah 23:1 KJV
    Woe be unto ”The Pastors” that destroy
    and scatter the sheep of my pasture!

    Jeremiah 23:2 KJV
    …thus saith the LORD God of Israel
    against ”The Pastors” that feed my people;
    Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away,
    and have not visited them: behold,
    **I will visit upon you the evil of your doings,**
    saith the LORD.


  35. MichaelWorrell,

    You say, “The notion that James MacDonald was suggesting that the elders of Harvest speak infallibly in consensus is an utter absurdity.” What part of the following, spoken by James MacDonald, do you not get?

    “. . . I just want to remind you that God has entrusted a spiritual authority to the local church and every local church has an authority under God. We believe that the Bible that the authority of the church is vested in the elders. And that WHEN THE ELDERS SPEAK COLLECTIVELY IN AGREEMENT, THEY SPEAK FOR GOD to our church. That’s about as serious as serious gets.” (Emphasis added.)

    Michael, why are you defending the indefensible?

    Be careful Michael. You are becoming an object lesson, demonstrating just how silly (or worse) we can become when we put somebody like James MacDonald on a pedestal.


  36. Amos,

    I want to be careful because some people who are by corrupt custom called “Pastors” really do have shepherds’ hearts. Some of them participate here.

    That said, however, nobody does better than you at putting the lie to the notion that the title of “Pastor” should be given to anybody, man or woman, whose main function in life, other than to build his or her “ministry,” is to regularly mount an elevated platform, hide behind a “holy” piece of furniture, and regale the passive, silent crowds with his/her opinions as though they were words from on High.

    And now we begin to read that these “pastors’ ” contracts relieve them from activities such as visiting the sick.


  37. Gary W

    Your “Shepherds Heart” is showing – Wanting to protect His Sheep…
    “who are by corrupt custom called “Pastors” “


  38. Gary W

    Your kind consideration for others does present a dilemma that I have struggled with: How to speak, what I see as important truths, – in love? And, at least cause folks, to question, to challenge “The Doctrines of Men,” “The Traditions of Men” that make VOID the Word of God that Jesus warned us about. Those “Tradtions” we have been raised with.

    That “WE,”His Ekklesia, His Church, His Sheep, should continue to depend on, and believe: There is a human in The Body of Christ “WE,” His Sheep, are to call, and recognise, as – “Our Pastor,” – “Our Leader.” – And when “WE” do that – “WE” are somehow honoring God. And somehow being “Covered.”

    But, Jesus says there is “ONE” Shepherd, “ONE” Leader, for His Disciples.
    Who am I to believe? – And depend upon? – And call Shepherd?

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}


  39. Amos,

    Thank you for your kind and encouraging words.

    As to the question of speaking the truth in love, I very much identify with you. For me, truth is the easy part; love, not so much. When I respond to people who come here to lecture and criticize, they likely never feel the love.

    Partly I suppose that is because they have a perverse idea of what it would look like to be loved. In a worst case, I suppose they would feel the only person who loves them is the person who unquestioningly allows them to be the absolute boss. Anything less than accepting all their opinions, and doing everything they demand, and submitting to their every atrocity, would be inadequate. I suspect we have tangled with more than one of these people on this blog. They have come cloaked in religious garb. We will never be able to speak truth to them in ways that they will perceive as loving.

    On the other hand again, I would have to concede that love has often been absent in my words. I am not sure I am sorry. If a (real) wolf attacking (real) sheep, I’m thinking the sheep come first. As beautiful and generally amazing as (real) wolves are, sometimes they simply have to be driven away, or otherwise stopped.

    On the other hand again, again, maybe I could find better balance.


  40. Gary W

    When you see a wolf – Absolutely – “the sheep come first.”

    Seems the only ones Jesus gave a hard time to were – The Religious Leaders.
    Jesus called im snakes, whited sepulchers, full of dead men’s bones….
    Of your father the devil. And a few other choice comments…

    As you say – There are nice guys here, everywhere, who have a shepherds heart, who call themselves “Pastors.” – Who do NOT know they are in bondage to a “Tradition.” A Corrupt Religious System and those “Traditions.”.

    Some of my best friends are “Pastors.” – I get to hear thier pain…
    And, Glory to God, some are now Ex-Pastors. 😉

    Heck – I was ordained – I thought I was called – I wanted to be “That Guy”- I was already “Preaching from that HOLY Pulpit” – It is intoxicating. – A hundred or so folks listening to my every word for an hour. – Giving them MY revelation of Jesus, MY revelation of the Word of God. And receiving all those “Accolades.”

    Wow – Here I was – A nobody – A high-school drop-out – With Pastors, believers, buying tape recordings of MY messages. Having them printed out in newsletters – Wow – I was becoming known – I was becoming a Celebrity – Yes – Very Intoxicating!!! And in the worst way.

    Intoxicate – dictionary
    Cause (someone) to lose control of their faculties or behavior. – poison.

    And intoxicating stuff often becomes an addiction. Hard to walk away from.

    I was told by pastors – Who said they were called of God – That I was called.

    And – Who could refuse such “Wisdom?” From guys who had “Titles?” 😉

    A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet. Pro 29:5

    Yes – They flattered me – And I became caught in the trap. 😦
    As are many others today “who are by corrupt custom called “Pastors”

    The stats for those who call themself pastor – are horrible.
    50% do NOT last five years — And for those who make it past five…
    50% would go do something else – If they could find a job.

    I’m a guessin – Lots were flattered – and told they were called.
    But – NOT so many are really called – Like they were told.
    I can NOT find one Discipled called to be a pastor… Hmmm?

    Seems – When you believe the lie you start to die…


  41. Amos,

    Your posts from yesterday on this thread remind me of this verse:

    “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44, ESV)

    While there may be other applications, I submit that the glory spoken of in this passage as being received from one another includes the kind of affirmation, recognition, approval and even flattery received by maybe the great majority of those who accept the so-called office of “Pastor.” I note that it isn’t even necessary to actively SEEK such glory. If one merely RECEIVES such things as affirmation, recognition, approval and flattery from men, they cannot believe. The word “believe” in this passage shares the same Greek root as “faith.”

    According to John 3:16, eternal life is given to those who believe. Ephesians 2:8 informs us that we are save by faith. Is it possible that the great majority of “Pastors,” being unable to believe by reason of their merely receiving glory from men, cannot be said to have eternal life? Must it not be said that they are not saved?

    But it gets even worse. Do not the great majority of congregants seek affirmation and approval from their “Pastors,” sort of as though the “Pastors” were some sort of father substitute? If and to the extent a “Pastor” permits and even encourages this, are they not guilty of keeping their congregants out of the Kingdom of God? Are they not effectively denying their congregants from receiving eternal life and salvation?

    The way “church” is traditionally done, the eternal destinies of both congregants and “Pastors” are at great risk.


  42. Gary W

    I think I would enjoy sitting down and having a cup of coffee with you.
    And talking about Jesus… 😉

    You quote a verse I have looked at often over the years – John 5:44.
    I never saw “Believe” as an issue of salvation – You do make a good case.

    Today I do point this verse at those who misappropriate the “Title” pastor.
    And allow others to call them pastor. A “Title” that belongs only to Jesus.

    This is a definite yes…
    “the glory spoken of in this passage as being received from one another includes the kind of affirmation, recognition, approval and even flattery received by maybe the great majority of those who accept the so-called office of “Pastor.””

    I also agree when you write…
    “If one merely RECEIVES such things as affirmation, recognition, approval and flattery from men, they cannot believe.”

    Yes – Even if todays Pastor doesn’t SEEK this honor, glory for them self…
    If they just RECEIVE the affirmation, honor, glory- How can they believe?

    I would see that as – How can they believe – Jesus is the “ONE” Shepherd?

    Like – How can there be only “ONE” shepherd?

    When ALL these folks call me Shepherd? (They could NOT ALL be wrong.)
    If I had a human Shepherd? (Worked well for me.)
    If my Denomination ordained me a pastor/shepherd? (They’re smart.)
    If I have a License that says I’m the pastor/shepherd? (I’m legal, official.)
    When this congregation has hired me as the pastor/shepherd?
    When there are 40 pastors/shepherds at the local pastors meeting?

    Yeah – Kinda hard to “Believe” there is only “ONE” shepherd.
    When you are RECEIVING Honor, and Glory from man… 😉

    Seems their “Traditions” make VOID the Word of God…
    And they can NOT see, Or “Believe” – BUT…

    When you believe – Jesus is the “ONE” Shepherd…
    You NO longer want to take His Name – His “Title” – in Vain. – Exodus 20:7

    When you believe – Jesus is the “ONE” Shepherd…
    You NO longer want that – Honor – Glory – Power – Profit – Prestige – Recognition – Reputation. That comes with His “Title.” When you “Believe” you point folks to the “ONE” shepherd…

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}


  43. Gary W

    Today when I use John 5:44.
    Questioning those who misappropriate the “Title” pastor.
    I begin at verse 41…

    Jesus said, In John 5:41-44 KJV.
    I receive NOT honour from men…
    …How can ye believe, which RECEIVE honour one of another,
    and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?

    Then I ask…
    When you are called pastor? The pastor? My pastor? Our pastor?
    Are you receiving Honour from man? Receiving Glory from man?


    I like these verses from the Amplified Version…
    Over 25 year ago – before cutting up my official papers…
    I wrote verse 41, on a 3 X 5 card – (Does anyone use these anymore?)
    Tacked it up on the wall – So I can be reminded – Always…
    And I still have that card today – it reads…

    I receive NOT Glory from men.
    I crave NO human honor, I look for NO mortal fame.

    Refusing compliments – Refusing aknowlegements – Accolades – Is tough…
    We All like a “Pat on the Back.” Seek recognition – BUT…

    Figured – If that was good enough for Jesus… 😉
    Here – for your enjoyment – is

    John 5:41-44 Amplified
    41 I receive NOT glory from men
    [I crave NO human honor, I look for NO mortal fame],
    42 But I know you and recognize and understand
    that you have NOT the love of God in you.
    43 I have come in My Father’s name and with His power,
    and you do NOT receive Me [your hearts are NOT open to Me,
    you give Me NO welcome];
    but if another comes in his own name
    and his own power and with NO other authority but himself,
    you will receive him and give him your approval.
    44 How is it possible for you to believe [how can you learn to believe],
    you who [are content to seek and] receive
    praise and honor and glory from one another,
    and yet do NOT seek the praise and honor and glory
    which come from Him Who alone is God?


    Seems fyou are correct when you say…
    “the great majority of congregants
    seek affirmation and approval from **their** “Pastors,”

    Even though **Their** Pastors lead them astray…

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **their shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*


  44. Gary W

    Here’s more confirmation when you say…
    ““the great majority of congregants
    seek affirmation and approval from their “Pastors,”

    Seems, even The Religious Leaders, in Jesus’ day…
    Also loved the praise of men – More than the praise of God.

    John 12:42
    Nevertheless among the chief rulers also MANY believed on him;
    but because of the Pharisees they did NOT confess him,
    lest they should be put out of the synagogue:

    43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.


    Seems very much like todays “Religious Leaders” to me…
    Seems very much like “the great majority of congregants” to me…

    Trying to gain the favor of “The Pastor”

    And refusing to ask todays pastors the hard questions…
    When they know so much is wrong with todays “Religious System.”

    Ps 138:6
    Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly:
    but the proud he knoweth afar off.

    Ps 40:4
    Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust,
    and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.


  45. Amos,

    How interesting that your earlier posts brought to my mind a verse that is part of a passage containing a verse you inscribed, not just on a 4×5 note card, but on your consciousness, a quarter century ago. I suggest that your having prompted my recollection of the John 5:44 verse is evidence of your effectiveness in communicating a theme that has been inscribed on your heart by God Himself. I will now repeat what I earlier said to the effect that I appreciate your message, and I also am appreciative of the simple, direct, Scripture-based manner in which you communicate it.

    Perhaps my saying such things makes you squirm. Are not my compliments the very sort of thing you found so intoxicating before you renounced the title and supposed office of Pastor so many years ago? When you spoke of my exhibiting a pastor’s heart, were you not heaping on that which, if received by me, would preclude my ability to believe? Well, I received your compliment. I submit that it is good and proper for you to receive what I very much intend as a compliments. If the peace I have as I write these things is any indication, what I say is consistent with the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

    But how can this be? Is not the receiving of compliments the same as the receiving of glory from men? I suggest that the answers to this seeming conundrum are to be found in observing the differences between receiving glory, on the one hand, and receiving love on the other. We are commanded to love one another. Surely, therefore, it is incumbent upon me to receive your loving and encouraging expressions in which you acknowledge what you perceive to have been deposited in me, and vice versa. Some, with whom I agree, would say that to reject such loving expressions would make us guilty of false humility.

    So then, what is the difference between the glory we are not to receive from men and the love I am saying we may and should receive from men? In my earlier post I suggest that to receive affirmation, recognition, approval and flattery is to receive glory. I now suggest that the expressions of love we may and should receive may sometimes take the form of expressions of . . . . affirmation, recognition and approval — though not flattery. The difference is in the attitude and spirit with which, and the purpose for which, we receive such expressions of affirmation, recognition and approval. It may be that affirmation, recognition and approval received as expressions of love are but acknowledgments of what God, as opposed to people, has deposited in us — even of the glory God has deposited in us and which we must, therefore, to receive.

    After all, in the John 5 passage Jesus indicates we are to actively seek glory from God. It is no surprise that Paul confirms Jesus: “He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;” (Romans 2:6-7, ESV)


  46. Gary W

    Wow – So many challenging questions – And fresh thoughts to consider…
    Am I – Receiving Glory? Or, Am I – Receiving Love?

    Excuse me – I have to go read your comment again…
    Many replies come to mind – They are in my “Knower”
    But – I do NOT know – If I know – How to get them out of my “Knower.”


  47. Good morning Amos. Not sure if this is what you are talking about, but there is a “knowing” that cannot be expressed in words. If memory serves, Leanne Payne relates how C.S. Lewis, or maybe it was Lewis’ student, Professor Clyde Kilby, says that a young man cannot kiss his girlfriend and think about the kiss at the same time, because at the moment one begins to think about the kiss, it has ceased to be a kiss. Or something like that. Some knowing can only be expressed by poets and other artists.


  48. Gary W

    Yes – “there is a “knowing” that cannot be expressed in words.”

    And – There is also a “knowing” that takes me a considerable amont of struggling to present these thoughts and words in the Proper? – Correct? – Edible? – Acceptable? – Loving? – way.

    When I said to you – “Your “Shepherds Heart” is showing”

    That was NOT my first thought to your comment about “be careful”
    about the “people who are by corrupt custom called “Pastors” here.

    Let’s just say I had to hit the delete button in my mind…. 😉
    My first thoughts were a little __________


  49. Gary W

    Back to your comment @ OCTOBER 13, 2013 @ 4:36 PM…
    Where to begin? – Do I find common ground first? – Affirm? Agree?
    And I find much to agree with…

    Or, Attempt to “put right” what to most would be a small difference.

    You mention an earlier comment I made to you – Incorrectly. Oy Vey!!!

    You wrote…
    “When you spoke of my exhibiting a **pastor’s heart,**

    When you re-read that comment @ OCTOBER 12, 2013 @ 8:48 AM…
    You’ll see that I said – “Your “Shepherds Heart” is showing”
    NOT a “pastors heart.”

    Seems small to most – shepherd vs pastor…
    So what’s the difference? – How many differences can you list?

    And one thing that was in my “Knower” at the time…
    But I did NOT get out of my “Knower” or say or communicate is…

    I see that “Shepherds Heart” in so many who comment here.

    Julie Anne has certainly set a wonderful example for His Flock.


  50. Amos,

    Ahh, good catch. Pastor vs. shepherd vs. “Pastor.” And, ahh, the challenges and traps inherent in language, especially where perfectly good words have been manipulatively corrupted to promote that which they do not signify.

    “and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (from Gk poimēn). (John 10:16b, KJV)

    “And he gave some . . . pastors . . .” (also from Gk poimēn). (From Ephesians 4:11, KJV)

    So, given my understanding that the terms “shepherd” and “pastor” are interchangeable if correctly understood, when I see “pastor” in Scripture I think “shepherd” or “the Shepherd,” depending on the context. When I see “pastor” properly applied to a mere human I think something like “one who provides for and protects,” not as an office or position, but as an area of service. When I see the term “pastor” used as a title or as the name of a supposed office, I think “error,” “heresy,” and, in extreme situations, “blasphemy.”

    Whether you intend it or not, I think you are showing me that it may be best to always use “shepherd” even if “pastor,” correctly understood is technically correct. The meaning of “pastor” has simply become too corrupted in present-day usage.


  51. Gary W

    Yup –
    “The meaning of “pastor” has simply become too corrupted in present-day usage.”

    Just ask a hundred folks today – unbelievers or believers…
    Say the word “shepherd” – out loud. What comes to mind?
    What does the word “shepherd” mean to you?
    Describe what a “shepherd” does?

    Now – Say the word “pastor” – out loud. What comes to mind?
    What does the word “pastor” mean to you?
    Describe what a “pastor” does?

    As you point out – The same Greek word “poimen”
    And “poimen” is 18 times in the NT. – Only once as “pastor.’ Hmmm?
    And only once as a “Title” – Referring to Jesus

    BUT – does the same picture show up in your mind?


  52. Gary W

    Seems to me – ALL believers…
    Can have a “Shepherds Heart.” – IN-clusive…

    But – In todays “Religious System”
    Only a Special Few – “Called” – “Edujumacated” – “Gifted”
    Can have a “Pastors Heart.” – EX-clusive…


  53. Gary W

    Seems to me – ALL believers…
    Can have a “Shepherds Heart.” – Caring for, protecting, His Sheep – IN-clusive…

    But – In todays “Religious System”
    Only a Special Few – “Called” – “Edujumacated” – “Gifted”
    Can have a “Pastors Heart.” – Leading, Overseeing, the sheep – EX-clusive…


  54. As someone who has recently joined HBC, not officially, can someone explain just briefly why JM is under attack? Outside of this individual issue. I find his sermons helpful and encouraging…but I do not want to be a pawn.


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